It turns out that Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson has agreed to comply with his House subpoena and arrive on Capitol Hill for his testimony at the appointed time after all. However, his activities will be limited to warming his chair seat, swearing to tell the truth, leaning over to whisper to his attorney, and asserting his Fifth Amendment rights.
He refuses to answer questions about the Christopher Steele anti-Trump “dossier” or anything else, because doing so may incriminate him.
The indignant statement from his lawyer reads as follows: “Compelling Glenn Simpson to appear for a confidential deposition after he has stated his intention to invoke his constitutional right not to testify reflects the worst practices of past congressional investigations and reinforces that this is a political exercise, not a serious inquiry.”
Really? So Congress is supposed to let him conveniently plead the Fifth with a statement from his lawyer, or over the phone, or through a tweet, so he doesn’t have to make his way through heavy DC traffic and pay for parking to show up at the hearing? Simpson’s lawyer must be aware that the whole “dossier” thing was a political fraud, as we are finally in the last stages of confirming beyond reasonable doubt. The least Simpson can do is show up.
Congress has been waiting literally for years now for answers about the dossier, which was funded by Hillary Clinton and the DNC through the law firm Perkins Coie, which paid Fusion GPS, which paid British ex-spy Steele, who apparently paid Russian sources for any unsubstantiated rumor they could come up with on then-candidate Donald Trump. Steele passed along various versions of the dossier that were flying around Washington in the summer and fall of 2016. We know it was the dossier, not the set-up meetings with George Papadopoulos, that the FBI used in 2016 to obtain a FISA surveillance warrant to spy on Trump campaign associate Carter Page.
As many accounts fail to explain, that was the opposition’s “way in,” as it enabled the FBI to tap the archives of Page’s communications with Trump's campaign, and, in turn, all of their contacts, past, present and future. It’s why, when Trump tweeted about his campaign being “wiretapped,” he was exactly right.
In news breaking late Monday, Carter Page has filed a lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee and Perkins Coie. Good for him. His Fourth Amendment rights were massively violated with a made-up accusation that he was a Russian agent (!), leading to months of illegal government surveillance. Nothing whatsoever was found to implicate him in any wrongdoing. I hope he has very aggressive lawyers. This should never happen in America, ever again.
In other breaking news, former deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe (boss of lawyer Lisa Page), whom we knew was under criminal investigation for leaking and lying to investigators about it, is also being investigated specifically for comments about illegal leaks pertaining to former national security advisor Gen. Michael Flynn, whose name was caught up in the surveillance of Carter Page and unmasked. According to John Solomon at THE HILL, the FBI posted information about this in “The Vault,” their public information site. In other “leaking” news, Solomon reports that the Senate intelligence security chief has pleaded guilty to lying about his contacts with the media. At last, we’re getting some answers abosut the massive leaking that was going on before and (especially) after Trump’s election.
According to FOX News’ Catherine Herridge, there are more depositions coming up this week, including additional testimony scheduled for Thursday from former FBI general counsel James Baker, whose previous testimony offered some surprising revelations about Rod Rosenstein’s “serious” talk about wearing a wire and invoking the 25th Amendment to unseat President Trump. Baker also said the FBI had handled the Hillary investigation and the Trump/Russia probe in an “abnormal fashion” and that they’d been given information by Michael Sussman, one of the lawyers for Perkins Coie, the politically-connected firm that had trafficked in the dossier. Baker is coming in for a second session simply because the committee ran out of time with the first one.
Nellie Ohr is scheduled to testify this week as well, on Friday. Wife of Bruce Ohr, who was at that time the fourth in line of authority at the Justice Department, she was the Russia specialist working for Glenn Simpson at Fusion GPS who passed Steele’s dossier to her husband after Steele had been determined by the FBI to be a non-reliable source (he was talking to the media) and let go from the FBI. Her husband became the unofficial backchannel for getting Steele’s unverified material to the FBI, even though his work there involved nothing about Trump or Russia. Like Baker, she's appearing voluntarily, and the interview will be under oath and transcribed.
Simpson’s lawyer complained that he “has already voluntarily testified for over 25 hours before three congressional committees." But at the time he testified, the committees didn’t have complete information about the political origins of the dossier; what they’ve learned since then has sparked more questions. Also, this lawyer conveniently fails to address a very important thing: Simpson’s earlier testimony doesn’t line up with Bruce Ohr’s emails when it comes to the timeline for their contacts. He testified that they didn’t have contact until after the election. Ohr’s emails refer to contacts well before the election. No wonder Simpson prefers to quit now and not say any more.
It may come to that for deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, too. Negotiations fell through for him to come in voluntarily and talk with congressional committees last week, so now House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia is considering a subpoena for him. “Considering”? How is that even up for debate? As the acting head of the agency (with AG Sessions recused), Rosenstein has an obligation to be forthcoming --- under oath if asked --- that was agreed to when he was confirmed by the Senate. (Incidentally, he’s supposed to be equally forthcoming with the President.) His not-under-oath denials conflict with the sworn testimony from Baker about “seriously” talking in May of 2017 about wearing a wire to secretly record the President and trying to enlist Cabinet members to remove Trump from office. Kind of a big deal.
Subpoena him already, so he has the same opportunity his friends have to plead the Fifth.
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